DON’T RELEGATE LOCAL FIRMS TO SMALL JOBS, AVIC URGED

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By ROGERS KALERO

LOCAL contractors should not be restricted to be doing small jobs like drainages as they have the capacity to handle big projects, Special Assistant to the President for project monitoring and implementation Andrew Chella has said

And Mr Chella on Saturday grilled AVIC International Project Manager for Kitwe Yang Peng for forcing local contractors to sign contracts under duress.

During a tour of projects in Mufulira and Masaiti, Mr Chella said local contractors with capacity to do big projects should not be restricted to do drainages only.

Mr Chella, who was accompanied by Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe, said he was disappointed that, in Mufulira, AVIC International was doing simple jobs like access bridges.

He said access bridges were supposed to be done by local contractors who were doing the drainages. After getting complaints about AVIC International doing access bridges instead of leaving them to local contractors, Mr Chella summoned a senior AVIC International official. He directed the AVIC International to stop doing access bridges and leave them to local firms that have been sub-contracted to the project.

“Our local contractors whom you sub-contract are supposed to get profits from these contracts and also skills transfer. So if you are doing jobs like access bridges, which are supposed to be done by sub-contractors, then what are we doing?

“So from now, I don’t want to hear that AVIC International is doing access bridges. Is that understood? The other thing is that local contractors should not be restricted to doing drainages,” Mr Chella said.

Mr Chella was however impressed that no main contractor had complained about shoddy works from the local contractors.

And during a meeting in Kitwe, Mr Chella on Saturday grilled AVIC International project manager for Kitwe Yang Peng for forcing local contractors to sign contracts under duress.

Mr Chella was shocked that AVIC International was selling cement to sub-contractors at K130, instead of K65.

 Apart from selling cement at high price to sub-contractors, Mr Chella was also surprised that AVIC International was forcing local contractors to sign contracts under duress.

One of the sub-contractors Joseph Kaoma told Mr Chella that some local firms were forced to sign ‘bad’ contracts.

And Mr Chella has urged the National Construction Council (NCC) and the Road Development Agency (RDA) to give guidance to the local contractors to ensure they do not sign contracts which do not benefit them.

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